The Frog – Pre-Intermediate Level
Once upon a time there was a farmer woman who had three sons. One day the three sons told their mother they wanted to get married. To this their mother answered: “Do as you wish, but see that you choose good women who will take care of you. To make certain of this, take with you these three balls of wool. Each of you give one to the girl you would like to marry and ask her to knit a warm coat. The girl who makes the best coat will be my favorite daughter-in-law.”
Now the two oldest sons had already chosen the girls they wanted to marry. They took the wool from their mother, and carried it off to them, to have it made into a coat as she had said. But the youngest son did not know what to do with his wool as he knew no girl, never having spoken to any.
He went to the nearby village and walked here and there, asking all the girls that he met if they would knit a coat for him. But when the girls heard this question and saw the wool, they laughed and called him names. Then, not knowing what to do, he left the village and started to walk home. On the way, he stopped and sat under a tree beside a small pond and began to cry sadly to himself.
Suddenly there was a noise, and a frog jumped out of the water and sat beside him. It asked him why he was crying, and the young man told her of his trouble. He told how his brothers would bring home beautifully made coats from the women they were going to marry. He explained that he was crying because he had no one to make a coat for him.
“Do not cry because of that,” said the frog. “Give me the wool, and I will make a coat for you.” And, having said this, she took it out of his hand and jumped back into the water. The youngest son then went home, not knowing what would happen next.
The next day the mother asked her sons to go and get the coats that had been made out of the wool that she had given them. All three left, and soon afterwards the two oldest returned, bringing with them the coats that had been made for them. The youngest son was greatly troubled, for he had nothing to show. Sadly he took himself back to the pond and, sitting down on the bank, began to cry again.
Suddenly the frog appeared out of the water and sat close beside him.
“Take this,” she said. “Here is the coat that I have made for you.”
The young man was now very happy. He took the coat from the frog and ran back to his mother, who was very pleased with it. The mother said that she had never seen such a beautifully made woolen coat. It was much finer than the coats that the two older brothers had brought home.
Then she turned to her sons and said: “But this is not enough, my sons. I want to know more about the women you have chosen. As you know, two months ago our dog had babies. They are now ready to be taken away from her and trained. Each of you take a puppy, and give it to the woman whom you mean to marry. She must bring it up and train it. The one whose dog turns out the best will be my favorite daughter-in-law.”
So the young men set out on their different ways, each taking a puppy with him. The youngest, not knowing where to go, returned to the pond, sat down once more on the bank, and began to cry.
Suddenly, close beside him, he saw the frog. “Why are you crying?” she said. Then he told her his difficulty, and that he did not know to whom he should take the dog.
“Give it to me,” she said, “and I will bring it up and train it for you.” Seeing that the young man was not sure, she then took puppy out of his arms, and disappeared with it into the pond.
The weeks and months passed. One day the mother said she would like to see how the dogs had been trained by the women her sons wanted to marry. The two oldest sons left and returned shortly, leading with them two great guard dogs. These growled so fiercely, and looked so dangerous, that just looking at them made the mother very scared.
The youngest son, as was his way, went to the pond and called on the frog to come to help him.
In a minute she was at his side, bringing with her the most lovely little dog, which she put into his arms. It sat up on its back legs with its front legs in the air, and went through the prettiest tricks. It seemed almost human in the way the little dog understood and did what it was told.
Feeling very happy the young man carried it off to his mother. As soon as she saw it, she cried out: “This is the most beautiful little dog I have ever seen. You are very lucky, my son. You have found a wonderful wife.”
Then, turning to them all, she said: “Here are three pieces of cloth. Take them to your chosen women. Whoever makes the best shirt will be my favorite daughter-in-law.”
So the young men set out once more; and again, the work of the frog was the best by far.
“I am now very happy with the tests I gave,” said the mother finally. “I want you to go and bring home your women, and I will prepare the wedding party.”
On hearing these words, the youngest brother did not know what to do . Where would he find a woman to marry? Would the frog be able to help him in this new problem? With his head down, and feeling very sad, he sat down again on the edge of the pond.
Once more, the helpful frog was soon sitting beside him.
“What is troubling you so much now?” she asked him, and then the young man told her everything.
“Will you marry me?” she asked.
“How can I marry you?” he answered, wondering at her strange question.
“Once more, will you marry me or will you not?” she said.
“I cannot say that I will, but I also cannot say that I won’t because you have been so kind to me,” said he.
At this the frog disappeared. The next minute the young man saw a lovely little farm cart, drawn by two small horses, standing on the road. The frog was sitting on a pillow on the seat. “Come with me and we will talk to your mother,” she said.
He got up and sat beside her, and started to drive home.
As they were driving along the road they met three witches, each of whom had a problem. The first of had something wrong with her eyes and could not see. The second had hurt her back and could not walk easily. The third had a large fish bone stuck in her neck and could not speak.
When the three witches looked up at the cart and saw the frog proudly sitting on a pillow next to a young man, they could not help but laugh. They laughed and laughed for a long time.
The one who could not see laughed so much that she began to cry. As she did this she found that she could see again. The one with the hurt back laughed so much that she rolled about on the ground. As she did this her back became straight and she could walk easily again. And in a great shout of laughter the fish bone came out of the neck of the third and fell on the road. The first thought of the witches was to use their magic to do something nice the frog, who had unknowingly helped them.
The first said some magic words, and changed the frog into the loveliest girl that had ever been seen. The second said some words that turned the little cart into a big, beautiful carriage with four large white horses and a driver in fine clothes. The third gave the girl a magic purse, filled with money. Having done this, the witches disappeared, and the youngest son with this lovely woman by his side drove home to his mother.
The mother was excited to see her youngest son’s new wife and built a beautiful house was built for them. She was the favorite daughter-in-law, and they lived happily ever after.